Thursday, March 29, 2012

CRAFT: Minnie Mouse Fish Extender

I made a Minnie Mouse fish extender last night. A fish extender is exclusive to Disney Cruises as something special that cruisers do. A fish extender is a vertical row of pockets in some fashion that is used in the FE program like a mail box, it's where gifts from other passangers are placed in. This one won't be for the cruise, as I'm not taking part of the FE program, but I thought it would be cute to make for Katie's Disney room. It was a practice one, as I want to make a fancy series of princess ones as well with tulle and organza to decorate their dress pieces.

This cost me less than $1 to make (can't beat that!) and maybe 30-45 minutes to cut out, hot glue and assemble. Katie refused to take her last nap last night, so I let her play on the nursery floor while she watched me make this. She enjoyed playing with the felt scraps as I finished each piece!

The pieces aren't perfect as I freestyled all of them. I had planned to print out patterns to trace onto the felt, but my printer wasn't working so I forged ahead without and eyed each piece instead.

Katie playing with her stuffed Minnie!

Monday, March 26, 2012

CRAFT: Double Layer Wrapped Leather Bracelet!

I love the look of wrapped leather bracelets. They're everywhere right now, you can find them in any catalogue and fashion magazine as they're beachy and fun and can both dress up and down an outfit. Well, I knew someone who made beautiful ones handmade and I went to her store to look into buying one. She wanted $40 for them because it takes so much time and the beads are expensive for it. Well, there was no way I could afford a $40 bracelet so I went about making my own.

My bracelet cost me $5. It's  not quite as fancy as others, but I think it turned out really pretty. It took me an hour to make and it was easy enough that I did it while watching tv. I also added a tassled end to it just to help secure that it would stay through the loop.

I have enough beads to make matching earrings to go with it, and maybe a matching necklace as well.

CRAFT: 1st Successful Crochet Project

Here's an update to a previous post - Katie's Easter Blanket, my very first crochet project that went well!

I may make it bigger in the future, but it fits her perfectly right now!

COOKING: Book Birthday Cake

On Saturday, I made my mother's belated birthday cake. It was a pretty giant cake. It was triple chocolate fudge with dark chocolate icing and cream cheese icing on the sides to look like paper. The whole cake was fashioned to look like an old, tattered version of her favorite book, Persuasion by Jane Austen. The left side was the title page and the right featured her favorite quote from Captain Wentworth. The blue chocolate roses were the first time I got to use my rose molds and I was very impressed with them!

Everything that could go wrong on this cake did. The fondant made me want to throw the whole project out so I had Bill roll it for me. Once it was on the cake and decorated, it kept ripping! There also wasn't enough to do the folded pages on the sides like I had wanted to do. The ink in the food dye pen kept running out even though it was brand new (it kept drying from the fondant) and my icing pages were mingled in chocolate crumbs. =( Next time, if I ever dare to make this cake again, it'll be vanilla and I'll freeze it first.

This monster was a labor of love. It took about 8 hours of work until it was finished, and then I had to tinker with some of the details again in the morning, which meant waking up extra early before church to try and make things work. I nearly cried when I smushed a bit of the page icing right outside of my mom's house!

Anyway, here's the pictures of it:

COOKING: Cake Balls

Lots of crafts this weekend!

Starting off with Cake Balls. I've been wanting to make these for WEEKS, but apparently no Walmart or grocery store in the area sells colored candy melts, so I had to keep waiting until I finally got to a craft store. I picked up baby blue and orchid colors and used the blue right away. I made German Chocolate cake and put 1/2 a cup of cream cheese frosting into the batter. I melted the candy coating and, after an hour in the freezer, coated the hardened cake balls. The coating was definitely the hardest part and I managed to burn  my fingers a few times, but they were DELICIOUS! I saved the cream cheese frosting and used it to dip the cake balls into, which made them absolutely perfect. I stored them in the refrigerator to keep a crunchy outer shell instead of a softer one.

I'll definitely be making these again!

Friday, March 23, 2012

CRAFT: Crochet!

I did it! I did it! I FINALLY figured out how to crochet instead of failing at it over and over for months. The key was, of course, starting off easy. I kept trying to immediately jump into harder things like hats and shoes and stuffed animals when I didn't even know how to do the basic stitches! I am now a master at the double crochet stitch, which is a basic for most patterns.

I started off with a granny square. Instead of making a multi-squared blanket, I stuck with just one and kept growing it bigger and bigger. I'm almost finished with it. It's in pink and green for Katie's first Easter.

However, it's summer weather and I don't want to make blankets. But I like the practice. So to make it interesting, I bought black, yellow and red yarn today. The colors of Mickey! I'm going to challenge myself with making a granny square blanket with a Mickey head in the middle and his colors interchanging through the blanket. I hope it comes out nice, as she may need a lap blanket on the cruise while she sits in her stroller on the cooler nights, and what better than a Mickey blanket? This girl is going to be fully decked out in Disney everything!

Since I'm still saving up money to hit a fabric sale, I figure I'll stick with the cheaper things to make her for now (besides that, I have to give her some time to grow! I'll start making the tutu dresses around summer, since they stretch more than the other clothing will so should fit her for longer.)

Pictures of my first blanket:

Here's when it was just a granny square at normal size:

Here it was by the night time:

I didn't get to take another picture yet, but it's about double the size now. I'm hoping to finish it tonight!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I have a new mission for the summer!

Katie is going on a Disney cruise this summer and I intend to make most of her clothing for it. (She'll need new clothing for that stage anyway, might as well make it Disney themed!)

So far I plan to make 5 daytime outfits, 5 dinner Princess outfits, a Pirate outfit for Pirate Deck party and bows/ribbons to go with each outfit.

Most of the outfits I have planned are being drawn up from my imagination, though I may take some influence from pictures like these:

Pinterest is a wonderful thing!

So far, I have a few jumpers in mind (these can be worn over long/short sleeve shirts and leggings in case the weather fluxuates as we head up to Canada) and then princess outfits in Belle, Tink, and a few others, plus a Minnie Dress, along with a few dresses that have Disney fabric incorporated in them.

I'm hoping this will really help with my pattern making and sewing skills as well as make Katie quite the themed baby on the cruise!

I wish I could start now, but since she grows in leaps and bounds, I have no idea what size she'll be at 14 months. Hopefully I can just start slowly collecting the fabric and ribbons for the outfits awhile. 

COOKING: New Chicken Recipe

I've created a recipe that's pretty awesome. We've had it three times in the last two weeks because one of us starts to crave it. It started off with me needing to use up the chicken that day, and it was at the end of the grocery week so we didn't really have anything to put on it like usual. So I just started to throw things into the recipe and said a quick prayer as I threw it into the oven and hoped it would come out yummy. IT DID!

I took skinless, boneless halved chicken breasts (because they're MUCH cheaper than other cuts of chicken) and flattened them out between two pieces of parchment paper with my marble rolling pin. I then salted them and added generous sprinklings of rosemary and thyme. Then I took large chunks of cream cheese and placed them in the middle, and heaped cheddar cheese on top. After that I rolled them up, stuck them with a few toothpicks, sprinkled a little more rock salt on the top and poured some butter on them to make the outsides crispy (I know, this isn't exactly a healthy recipe, but I need to gain weight anyway!)

I popped the small chicken roll ups in the oven at 350' for 40 minutes, broil them for 2 minutes, then take them out and cover them in more cheese and put them back in the oven for another few minutes.

Last night I tried it with large chicken breasts and they came out just as good, but I like the bite sized pieces better, I think! Looks like cute little appetizers that way.

Friday, March 2, 2012

COOKING: Cookie Dough Truffles

Late last night I found a recipe for cookie dough truffles, and saw that I had all the ingredients to make it. So of course, despite it being 10 PM and the fact that the recipe said it takes over two hours to do, I started making it. Baking is healing, and since I wasn't feeling well I kept baking.

These were very simple to make. Milk replaces eggs in the recipe, but the rest of the dough is the same. An hour in the fridge firms it up enough to roll into balls and twenty minutes in the freezer gets them to hold together through dipping them in a hot pot of chocolate. It did take me about two hours to do, but today's testing proved that they were worth it, and it was easy work.

The only thing I did differently was instead of using chocolate melts, I went with what I had and used chocolate chips melted down and mixed with a little vegetable oil. This made the chocolate looser and it went on easier and dried thinner than usual, as just chocolate chips melted down tend to dry in lumps and flakes.

It made probably over two dozen, which is good because they're addicting!


COOKING: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm not sure why, but I always get the extreme urge to make cupcakes whenever I'm feeling under the weather. So yesterday I ended up giving into the craving!

I had made these before, but this time I used a different recipe. I shouldn't have - even though these are yummy, the last ones were irresistable. To switch it up a bit, I decided to try icing the cupcakes with a big tip instead of a small one. I've seen many bakery posts saying that this is how they do theirs, so I figured I'd practice. I do love the look, even though it uses at least double the amount of icing! I need at lot more practice, but these do look much more professional than small tipped ones.

Bill took a few to work with him yesterday and they all got really good reviews (and these aren't all very kind men, so Bill said the reviews were trustworthy instead of just trying to flatter.)

Here's pictures of how they turned out (even though I used a full tube of red food coloring, they turned out less red than last time when I only used half a tube. ??